Halloween Movie Recomendations
With Halloween this week I will save the scariest movie of them all for my final recommendation. The Exorcist. This is a movie that I remember when it hit theaters in 1973. I was 10 years old and watched on the news of the reports of people fainting and vomiting and having panic attacks from viewing this movie. Many movie theaters had nurses standing by to help with the upset movie viewer.
Of course it would be years before I finally saw the movie on VHS tape. I did find it very disturbing and scary. The special effects for Linda Blair as the possessed child still stand out today. One of the most frightful aspects of the entire movie is the tone and mood that is set. From the opening frame to the closing credits the cinematography and the music set a mood that is suspenseful, creepy, anxious, forbidding and down right spooky. It never lets up and takes a break so by the time the exorcism begins the audience is on the edge of their seats.
There are really two stories at the heart of this film. First is the story about a young girl who is from a broken home whose mother is an actress working on a film in the Washington DC area who gets possessed by and evil spirit, the devil, after playing a Ouija board. The second story involves Damian a priest and psychologists that has lost his faith and is depressed as his mother is dying. The movie does an excellent job of weaving both story lines together into the final climax of the film.
Although the film has dated well and the special effects are very well done those are no longer the scariest aspects of the film. I think the mood and tone of the movie is what is most frightening. The scenes with Linda Blair being possessed have lost some of their power to frighten because they have been parodied to death (pun intended) in the nearly 40 years since the films release. Those scenes have become somewhat of a novelty. But if you can forget the parodies and get yourself engrossed in the story they can still deliver thrills and chills.
A few years ago an updated DVD was released with added scenes. There was one scene when Reagan’s mom is still wondering what is going on with her daughter when we suddenly see Reagan walking upside down as she descends the staircase. The walking is done so fast and in a staccato like fashion that my wife and I burst out laughing. I do not think that was the emotion the directors was going for. That is the only flaw in the updated version. So if you really want to get yourself in a Halloween mood and want a good old fashioned scare then The Exorcist still has the power to deliver.